Who prevented the “white gold”?

Turkestan region started cotton-planting. These days it is planned to sow 120 thousand hectares. Every year, the area under the “white gold” in the only cotton growing region of the country is constantly decreasing. The authorities have taken such a course by now. Although only a few years ago we had a radically different policy, the correspondent of the “Kazakh-Zerno” NA notes. Officials of all stripes and ranks convinced us that soon Kazakhstan will turn into an advanced cotton-growing state: the main thing is to try harder.

The project cost a pretty penny (for the country) – several hundred million dollars. Newspapers were full of official information that the areas under cotton are rapidly expanding in the South Kazakhstan region, about the commissioning of processing enterprises, in particular, a plant for the production of 180,000 bed sheets per year and 672,000 sewn products,and also that Kazakhstan became a member of the International Cotton Advisory Committee. And the premonition dawned on all of us that we would very soon be sporting in beautiful and, most importantly, our environmentally friendly clothes with the label “Made in Kazakhstan”.

However, after a while the money ran out, and the excitement of our authorities diminished noticeably, in proportion to the funds allocated. The country has never received the coveted textile cluster.

So they had to urgently change the policy. Today, they say, it is much more profitable to grow, let’s say … melons and watermelons. But not all Turkestan farmers accept these ideas. They firmly lingered in their minds that cotton – it’s the “white gold” yet still. Export-oriented currency crop, which, moreover, unlike all kinds of melons and the like, has longer shelf life, which is important in the agricultural sector.

In general, despite any exhortations, the farmers began to sow “white gold”. Although, the current sowing season was slowed down by the rainy spring. And now, finally, for three days there is steady, hot weather — above 25 degrees.

Perhaps, it will be possible to meet the planting time and finish by mid-May. Fortunately, farms in the region are small.

For example, there are only eight hectares of cotton in the farm “Kulzay”. But the head of the economy, Zhusip Alpysbay, put great hopes on these hectares. Moreover, its site is located near the Bugunsky reservoir. This circumstance allows you to resolve problems with watering.

“The soil was washed at the end of April,” says Zhusip. – There was a lot of water because of the rain, they poured heavily. Now, at least a couple of waterings needs to be done after sowing.

Using drip irrigation?–I wonder.

– Oh, don’t say that! -the farmer flaps his arms. – It is very expensive. Like most farmers, I am content with irrigation ditches and trays. They only write smartly about drip irrigation; they say, drainage systems are improved and other crap. But this is a very expensive mechanism. Although the state provides subsidies for the purchase of seeds, fertilizers and herbicides, providing cheaper fuel and lubricants. For each hectare it turns out somewhere more than 100 thousand tenge of subsidies. And the total cost of growing each hectare is almost 200 thousand tenge, twice as expensive. But still it is a profitable crop. And this is despite the fact that not everyone can get subsidies, too many bureaucratic obstacles. You have to run a lot to get money. And the sowing campaign does not wait, because the spring day feeds the year. It’s a good thing that at least investors buy the harvest quickly. Theydonotwait.

And they say that our cotton is inferior in quality …

– I have worked for many years at reception centres and I will bindingly tell you: this is crap. If it were bad, it would not be in demand. Our cotton is bought by China, and Turkey, and Belarus with great pleasure. These are the ones from whom we later purchase finished products. So, our cotton is beneficial for both the farmer and the investor. It is not beneficial only to the state in the form of raw materials, since it has nothing of this. But if they had established a complete processing of cotton, the cluster would have been created. Then both the state and its citizenswould be wealthy.

It is difficult to disagree with the farmer. Today, 85-90 percent of the harvested cotton fiber is exported to Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and China. The main cotton producer in the region is Maktaral district. Cotton makes up about 40 percent of the total agricultural production in the region.

It can be seen that the interest of Turkestan farmers in it is always high. But what the majority of peasant farms receive today is only a small part of the possible. The yield slows down, although in recent years it certainly grows and, on average, reaches 30 q/ha. For example, in Australia, the average yield is 55.5 quintals per hectare, and in Israel – 52. To be on a par with the world cotton producers, Kazakhstan’s cotton farms need to achieve a yield of 50 quintals per hectare, to get at least 500 thousand tons of raw cotton as a wholefor the season. In the world ranking of producing countries of cotton fiber, which includes 63 states, Kazakhstan rose to 11th placein 2016, ahead of the nearest neighbors-producers from Uzbekistan.

It should be noted that in the cotton industry, after each processing the price of the finished product immediately doubles. For example, if the cotton fiber, in which raw material turns into after the first processing, is sold at $ 1.5 thousand per ton, then entrepreneurs can earn $ 3 thousand for cotton yarn, and for woven fabric all $ 4.5 thousand. It is obvious that if you sew clothes or bedding from these fabrics, the income will be even higher.

Truly, cotton is “white gold.” If only to add not a golden, but just a thinking head to it… Oh, we would roll in the stuff!

Reference: $1 = 380 tenge

Ramziya Yunusova

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